Rolls-Royce is bringing a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) to the 700shp (522kW)-class commercial helicopter engine market.
The Model 250-C47E Evolution unveiled at the Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas features a dual-channel FADEC, says R-R senior vice-president of helicopters Greg Fedele.
It helps the latest variant of the M250 series deliver a 7.7% thrust increase compared with its predecessor, the M250-C47B/M, with power margin to spare if a manufacturer requests more thrust, he adds.
The drop-in re-engining candidate is also designed to reduce direct operating costs and fuel burn, Fedele says.
It also represents the latest advance for FADEC technology into ever-smaller applications, where once the units were too expensive to justify the improvement in response times and flight management.
Pratt & Whitney Canada's rival PW200-series engines, by contrast, feature a single-channel electronic engine control (EEC). An EEC differs from a dual-channel FADEC because it uses a less precise hydro-mechanical back-up system if the digital controls fail. However, EEC reliability has improved so much that it is essentially considered a fully digital system by the market.
P&WC has integrated FADEC controls into turboshaft engines at slightly higher power levels, but has no plans to replace the EEC with a FADEC in the PW200 series, which offers engines in the 500-700shp range.
Instead, the engine manufacturer has rolled out new reliability improvements for the PW206 and PW207 turboshaft engines, extending the time between overhauls.